The senator from another planet

“It’s very clear that private-sector jobs have been doing just fine.”


– Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Pluto


Forgive us if we misidentify the Senate majority leader. We just can’t tell which planet he’s from.

The thing is, Reid and people like him inside the Washington bubble may actually believe the private sector is “doing just fine.” If they ever worked in the private sector, it’s been years.

Of course, it helps that the public-sector unions Reid is worried so much about propping up are such loyal supporters of the Democratic Party.

Back on Earth, over in the private sector, things have rarely been worse. CBS News reported in June, “About 6.2 million Americans, 45.1 percent of all unemployed workers in this country, have been jobless for more than six months – a higher percentage than during the Great Depression.” CNBC reported the same month, “The housing crisis that began in 2006, and has recently entered a double dip, is now worse than the Great Depression. Prices have fallen some 33 percent since the market began its collapse, greater than the 31 percent fall that began in the late 1920s and culminated in the early 1930s, according to Case-Shiller data.”

And as for Reid’s contention that it’s really the public sector that’s suffering, USA Today reported in 2010, “Federal employees earn higher average salaries than private-sector workers in more than eight out of 10 occupations.”

Worse yet, the newspaper reported that, “At a time when workers’ pay and benefits have stagnated, federal employees’ average compensation has grown to more than double what private sector workers earn. ... Federal civil servants earned average pay and benefits of $123,049 in 2009 while private workers made $61,051 in total compensation, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis.”

The same year, the Heritage Foundation’s James Sherk reported that the federal government:

• Pays hourly wages 22 percent above that of comparable private sector workers;

• Provides more generous health care and pension plans;

• Provides total compensation on the order of 30 percent to 40 percent above similarly skilled private sector workers; and

• Offers near-total job security and insulates federal employees from recessions.

And this week it was reported that the nation’s richest area is Washington, D.C. – whose median income of $84,523 far outpaces the national median of $50,046, and even Silicon Valley’s $83,944.

By every measure, Harry Reid is from another galaxy.

But you know it anecdotally, too. The private sector began downsizing years ago, and if you work in it you’re probably doing the jobs of two or three people now. Nor is it likely your income was raised when you got extra duties; fact is, many private-sector workers have had their pay cut, even as they’ve taken on additional work.

When a restructuring occurred belatedly in Augusta government, raises were handed out to over 40 folks assuming additional tasks. Nice for them, rare for the private sector these days.

Unemployment at near 10 percent? Lower pay for more work? Very little job security? Lower pay and benefits, with higher health-care premiums and smaller retirement plans than their public-sector friends? All of that is “doing just fine”?

It really makes you wonder why Nevada – 13.4 percent unemployment and the worst foreclosure rate in the nation – sent this guy back to the Senate rather than to the private sector, where he could be doing fine without our tax dollars helping out.

It’s amazing the amount of lunacy Americans are willing to put up with.



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